Live Stats: Saturday
FAIRFIELD, Conn.- The Sacred Heart University Men's Ice Hockey team takes a breather from Atlantic Hockey play to face-off against Yale followed by the winner or loser against Quinnipiac and UCONN at the first inaugural CT ICE Tournament beginning Saturday Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Last Time Out... The Pioneers faced off against Canisius for a two game series at home on Jan. 17-18 as SHU tied the first game by a final score of 3-3 before the Pioneers lost in the 3-on-3 overtime to give the Golden Griffs the extra conference point for the OT win. Junior Matt Tugnutt tallied the game-tying goal late in the third period to send the game into overtime. In the second game, the Pioneers fell to Canisius by a final score of 5-2. Senior's Austin McIlmurray and Jason Cotton each scored a goal for the Pioneers in the loss.
Last Meetings... Yale beat SHU 3-1 on Jan. 12, 2019, at Ingalls Rink and have now won six of the seven meetings since the first meeting in 2009. The Pioneers faced UConn to kick of the 2019-20 season as the Pioneers skated to a 3-3 tie on October 5, 2019. The last time SHU faced Quinnipiac was back in 2013 when SHU faced the Bobcats at home on December 30. 2013 where the Pioneers fell to Quinnipiac by a final score of 5-0.
Scouting The Teams On The Ice.. Yale is coming off a pair of wins over Union and RPI as they defeated Union 5-0 on Jan. 17 and won over RPI by a final score of 4-1. Sophomore Curtis Hall currently leads the team in goals with eight on the year and is second on team in points with nine. In front of the net, the Bulldogs are led by senior Korbin Kaczperski who has played in 13 games racking a GAA of 2.88 and a save percentage of .901. For UCONN, the Huskies on the offensive end are led by first-year Vladislav Firstov who currently has nine goals, seven assists for 16 points and leads the team in points and goals. The team's top goalie is Tomas Vomacka who has played in 22 games with a GAA of 3.37 and a save percentage of .893. For Quinnipiac, the team is led by Wyatt Bongiovanni who has tallied 11 goals, seven assists for 18 points. He leads the team currently in goals. The top goalie for the Bobcats is junior Keith Petruzzelli who has played in all 22 games with a GAA of 2.25 and a save percentage of .912.
Standing on Top of Atlantic Hockey .... The Pioneers have been at the top Atlantic Hockey for three straight weeks. SHU sits at the top with a conference record of 13-6-1 and an overall record of 14-8-2 to claim 40 points at the top of the league. The 40 conference points is the most the Pioneers have tallied in program history since joining Atlantic Hockey in 2005. The most points the Pioneers have tallied prior to this year in confernce was 39 back in the 2009-10 season.
Dominating the Roads... The Pioneers have won 10 straight road games and are a perfect 9-0-0 in AHA play away from Webster Bank Arena. SHU has been firing on all cylinders scoring a league-leading 4.4 goals per game on the road with a +2 goal per game differential.
Lee Leading the League... Senior defenseman and local Connecticut natve Mike Lee is having a career year as he has tied his career high in goals with four so far on the year after he tallied two goals in the teams series against Mercyhurst. He currently leads Atlantic Hockey in points with 26 this season as well as assists with 22. He sits tied for sixth in the nation in assists per game averaging just under one assist a game (.96 assists per game).
Bates Breaking Career High's.....Junior defenseman Alex Bates has now tallied at least one point in the past three games for the Pioneers and in SHU's last game against Canisius he tallied his 11th assist of the year which surpassed his career high from his freshman year of 10. He is just two points shy of tying his career high in points from that year which was 14.
Seniors Shining....This year's senior class that feature Vito Bavaro, Austin McIlmurray, Mike Lee and Jason Cotton have totalled more than half the teams goals as the group of four have recorded 47 on the season. The group also leads the classes in points with 90 and is second in assists with 43.
Offensive Power is Showing.....Coming into this weeks matchup, the Pioneers currently rank fourth in the nation in scoring offense as SHU nearly reaches four goals a game as the Pioneers tally an average of 3.83. The Pioneers sit right behind top ranked Penn State who the Pioneers tacked on four goals against the Nittany Lions in a tight 5-4 loss that came on October 12. Penn State currently averages 4.00 goals a game this season.
GOALS, GOALS, GOALS..... Coming into this weekends matches, the Pioneers have four team members that currently sit in the top six of all goal scorers in Atlantic Hockey. Senior Jason Cotton holds the top spot in first with 15 on the year followed by Vito Bavaro and Austin McIlmurray who are tied with 14 and sit in second in the league. Junior Matt Tugnutt sits in sixth with 12 on the year to round out the Pioneers in the top 10.